Key Retailer Takeaways from Recent ForgeRock Research, Part 1

A retailer’s ability to make vital decisions about digital identity issues requires information and insight, of course. This is why ForgeRock is involved, on multiple fronts, in supporting or conducting research into consumer cognizance of digital identity matters, and their attitudes toward sharing personal information with retailers or other digital commerce agents. Two of those recent studies provide a brace of worthy insights - key retailer takeaways - that decision makers in consumer packaged good and retail management should bear in mind as they move forward in addressing digital identity challenges:

Let’s examine what these reveal, and the insights about digital identity and personal data collection they provide retailers.

Consumers aren’t informed about their data

These studies paint an intriguing landscape about consumer understanding of personal data. Consumers’ knowledge level about the type and amount of personal data they share online, the nature of the organizations capturing it, and how it is used, is low. Nearly half of adults (47%) felt they didn’t know how much information about themselves was available online; 57% knew “only a little” or “nothing at all” about their rights pertaining to the use of personal data.

Only three in ten (30%) European respondents said they knew anything about how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will impact their rights. Half (48%) didn’t know who is liable should they be the victim of a data hack, even amongst respondents who had been hacked in the past (49%).

Even so, consumers still want their privacy protected: 92% want stricter punishment than currently exists for companies caught violating that privacy. As in other walks of life, the less understanding a person has, the greater his or her disquiet: Our research found those with more knowledge of their data rights were more apt to be happy about the level of personal data they shared online.

The Key Retailer Takeaway?

The more education and awareness a retailer can give the customer as to when, how and why you capture their personal data, the more amenable the customer becomes to sharing it.  The GDPR will legislate changes, certainly, but a retailer may not want to wait until unambiguous consent and other mandates are a fact of law in their market.

Transactions equal trust

Consumers exhibit a high comfort level when it comes to entities with whom they have transactional relationships. They place a high level of trust in banks and credit card providers (79%), payment apps (78%), insurance and/or pension providers (77%) and Amazon (74%) to responsibly manage their data.

Yet they also perceive a significant level of risk to accompany digital transactions. 79% used smartphones and laptops to make online payments for goods and services and access personal messaging and social networks, but 79% also believed online payments put their privacy “somewhat” at risk, whilst 74% said the same about messaging and social networks.

These attitudes are more pronounced in the U.S., where 76% are “strongly concerned” with third parties accessing their information without consent, versus 68% in Europe and 57% in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) area. A possible corollary to this? For consumers, the level of security a personal device can provide (“very important” to 80% of them) and its privacy features (75%) trump affordability (47%) and ease of use (48%). As the IoT becomes more pervasive, this anxiety may increase.

The Key Retailer Takeaway?

Having a transactional relationship with consumers can be strongly advantageous, providing you can maintain security and transparency; there is nothing more damaging to this type of relationship than a trust betrayed.

Look for Part 2: In a follow-up post, we’ll examine still more retailer insights to be drawn from this newest round of ForgeRock-sponsored research.